So here is our most important piece of advice: remember who your dad really is.
January 29, 2009 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Sasha and Malia, here is some advice to you from two sisters who have stood where you will stand and who have lived where you will live:The Bush girls friend Sasha and Malia

Including some very un-Metafilter like comments.

"Another great example of the character of the Bush Family. Well done Jenna and Barbara! I am sure that your parents and grandparents are so proud of you!"
posted by pianomover (66 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
That's a very sweet and thoughtful gesture.
posted by boo_radley at 9:55 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


As older girls, we were constantly inspired by the amazing people we met, politicians and great philosophers like Vaclav Havel.

Something tells me Jenna didn't write this part.
posted by bunnytricks at 9:56 AM on January 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


-- If you ever need a hug, go find Ramsey. If you want to talk football, look for Buddy. And, if you just need a smile, look for "Smiley."

Does nicknaming run in their family?
posted by piratebowling at 9:58 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


It would've been genuinely really sweet without the whole leaked to the press bit.
posted by dabitch at 9:59 AM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Surround yourself with loyal friends. They'll protect and calm you and join in on some of the fun, and appreciate the history."

Yeah! Like this guy!
posted by jckll at 10:00 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't mean to sound all churlish, but wow... if I had daughters, I would keep them far away from those two. What is the opposite of role models? Object lessons?
posted by rokusan at 10:05 AM on January 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


Man, BushCo is still trying really, really hard to repair his image. Can't wait to see the next piece they place in the press.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:05 AM on January 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Case studies? Warnings to others?
posted by Weebot at 10:06 AM on January 29, 2009


dabitch: what are you referring to? The fact that the letter is public? Based on the byline I thought the Bushes wrote this for the WSJ.
posted by boo_radley at 10:07 AM on January 29, 2009


If you want to talk football, look for Buddy. And, if you just need a smile, look for "Smiley."

Very telling that the Bush twins apparently don't fucking know the names of the White House butlers.

Smiley? WTF?

"Like, if ya'll need just a smile, just go look for that pleasant darkie that's always near the kitchen."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:11 AM on January 29, 2009 [21 favorites]


If they really wanted to be helpful they'd give them their tips on scoring fake IDs.
posted by chococat at 10:12 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Our dad, like yours, is a man of great integrity and love"
posted by Nahum Tate at 10:14 AM on January 29, 2009


I don't mean to sound all churlish, but wow... if I had daughters, I would keep them far away from those two. What is the opposite of role models? Object lessons?

Seriously, I would hope my kids would pick better friends than people who, even though ridiculously wealthy and connected, managed to get caught MULTIPLE TIMES for something as easy to get away with as underage drinking.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:15 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine any really useful advice being passable in an open letter.

The real tips about being White House kids are probably more along the lines of "That usher will totally look the other way if you sneak in booze, but he'll flip out at cigarettes. There's this awesome hiding place for things in the upstairs study, nobody opens that cabinet. Yes, the secret service will absolutely rat on you about, like, everything. The chef can make some really amazing fries, but if you want pizza... seriously, just get Domino's. We left you this freaking huge bag of Twix in a bedside table, don't tell anyone."
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:24 AM on January 29, 2009 [18 favorites]


What is the opposite of role models?

I'll give you a hint : his family is mentioned in the post.
posted by mannequito at 10:24 AM on January 29, 2009


Gosh, you all sure are cynical! I thought this was a genuine and sweet gesture from two lovely girls touched by the innocence of a younger generation. This is a perfect, spontaneous example of compassionate conservatism at its best, arising as a freely-given act of charity based on deeply-felt, God-given morality rather than as a manipulative mandate from a runaway government socialist nanny-state. Also: Twins!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:28 AM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Eh. As far as I can tell, there's nothing wrong with the Bush twins, other than poor taste in fathers. They seem pretty innocuous to me. I agree that it would have been a sweet gesture had it not been public. For all we know, though, they wrote something more candid for the Obama girls' private consumption.

It seems to me, though, that the situations aren't really analogous. I think that Amy Carter and Chelsea Clinton could give better advice. I'd pay money to read Amy Carter's letter. I bet it would be a lot more bitter and less saccharine than the Bush twins'.
posted by craichead at 10:29 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


boo_radley , yes the fact that the letter was in the WSJ, rather than in the hands of the girls the advice is written for made it a little less sweet to me. I would agree though, that it would be a very sweet and thoughtful gesture if the Bush daughters left a letter like this for the Obama daughters in the white house.
posted by dabitch at 10:32 AM on January 29, 2009


The entire article made me want to puke.

Here's my version of that letter:

Dear Malia and Sasha;

We were asked by someone Dad knows to send you guys a letter telling how it is here. We didn't want to do it, but Dad's life is in the tank now and we don't get access to free shit anymore and the butlers, Shiny, Sheeny and Dopey or whatever don't talk or look at us anymore. And what's with your names, anyway? But whatever.

So, okay - here's the deal: You can do whatever you want and never get caught. Ever. I know my Dads' advisors want us to throw in a bunch of stuff about how beautiful the paint is in all the old musty rooms or whatever, but here's the real deal: when you're hammered on Long Island Ice Teas and Cosmos at 2 in the afternoon because Rughead Numero Uno flew in, just slide down the solarium bannister.

It's easier than busting your Manolos on hard marble, amirite? Anyway, you'll learn soon enough this place is lame and boring and they dress you in clothes that Hillary Clinton wouldn't even wear.

Our advice is drink up, sisters! And run for the helicopter! Okay later - Jen and Babs
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 10:34 AM on January 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


Jenna and Barbara Bush also narrated the letter in this video/slideshow.
posted by ericb at 10:35 AM on January 29, 2009


Our dad, like yours, is a man of great integrity and love
My best guess for an explanation of this sentence is that they don't exactly understand what those particular words mean.
posted by Flunkie at 10:37 AM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'd pay money to read Amy Carter's letter. I bet it would be a lot more bitter and less saccharine than the Bush twins'.

Yes, but Amy Carter was on acid when she wrote it, so there's a whole distracting segment in Chapter 3 when the main character freaks out because she's "entering bat country."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:38 AM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ah, the making of a Hallmark commercial and some Thomas Kinkade paintings, all rolled into a fuzzy ball of kittens, tied with the bow of uncharacteristic writing. It sounds like the words of a much older person, say in their 30s to 40s, talking to children. Who tells kids to "surround yourself with loyal friends"? Sure, you're the President's daughters, but why not just "good friends"? It chokes me like the 100+ Chicken Soup for -Somebody- books.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:40 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Chicken Soup for Dummies
posted by DU at 10:43 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


dabitch, gotcha, thanks.

Did anyone else think that the Bushes were friending the Obamas on e.g. Facebook? I totally thought that was what this would be about.
posted by boo_radley at 10:45 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ are you guys a bunch of cynics.
posted by gyc at 10:46 AM on January 29, 2009


Chicken Soup for the Embittered by the 8 Year Reign of Terror by Willfully Ignorant Jackbooted Greedhead Religious Zealot Pawns of Big Energy and the Military Industrialist Complex American Soul
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:49 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


* When your dad goes to watch videos of "enhanced interrogations," go with! "Waterboardy" is pretty cool, so's "the 'Trode." Our VP used to bring cheetos, be sure to ask "Pluggy" what he's bringing.
posted by PlusDistance at 10:51 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


So here is our most important piece of advice: remember who your dad really is.

[read in SNL Church Lady voice]: Is it......SATAN??????
posted by spicynuts at 10:53 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


craichead - though this is a bit of dredging up the past, I'll elaborate on the Bush Twins if you missed the story.

Just two weeks after copping to an underage drinking charge, the 19-year-old party girl (Jenna) has been rapped (along with twin sister Barbara) for another Texas booze incident. The Austin Police Department today (May 31) issued Jenna a misdemeanor citation for using someone else's driver's license in a failed bid to order a drink at a Mexican restaurant on May 29 (sister Barbara got nailed for successfully obtaining booze that same evening).

Maybe they've grown out of that, or maybe it matters less now they can legally use their own IDs to order drinks, but for a while they were all over tabloids and the such. Of course, Obama's daughters are much younger, so the chance they'll be trying to get liquored up is probably nil.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:55 AM on January 29, 2009


Yes, but Amy Carter was on acid when she wrote it, so there's a whole distracting segment in Chapter 3 when the main character freaks out because she's "entering bat country."

I would just like to remind everyone that George W. Bush did not kill all the bats. So there is that. Bats are still with us, thanks to George W. Bush, who did not let them all die. Thank you.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:01 AM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I would just like to remind everyone that George W. Bush did not kill all the bats.
Not yet he hasn't. The man hasn't died, he's just left office.

(although it really strikes me as more of a Cheney thing anyway)
posted by Flunkie at 11:07 AM on January 29, 2009


Seriously, what's with all the image rehabilitation efforts out there for Dubya and Co.? I didn't recall anything like this happening when Clinton got into office and Bush Sr. stepped down. Nor do I recall Clinton trying to hog the spotlight after Dubya's inauguration, either.

Anyone remember otherwise or am I completely off base here?
posted by ooga_booga at 11:22 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, but Amy Carter was on acid when she wrote it, so there's a whole distracting segment in Chapter 3 when the main character freaks out because she's "entering bat country."

"We were somewhere around the Capitol on the edge of the Potomac when the drugs began to take hold..."
posted by spacely_sprocket at 11:22 AM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


I guess "sweet and thoughtful" might be a bit much since there is a level at which this is a calculated publicity exercise, but then almost everything Dubya did since November fits that rubric. The WSJ has run stuff from Rove and others and clearly would be one of the vanguard of any political rehabilitation movement; this is perhaps more at the "nice and innocuous" level as a result.

I do think it's interesting that the office (and the building) unite our Presidents more than political differences divide them, and it's fascinating that Carter and Clinton are the living ex-Presidents who get along the least well. Similarly I think the WH kids all have something in common that almost nobody else in the world does, as sure as their dads have the chair, desk, and red phone in common. It's a positive feature of our democracy that there are such cordial relations and as much as we can't just let bygones be bygones, a full accounting ("surely this...") will never be possible. I wouldn't want to hold the younger generation responsible for what we can't accomplish at the adult level.
posted by dhartung at 11:24 AM on January 29, 2009


dhartung - where are you getting the impression that Carter and Clinton don't really get along? Not calling you on it - I'm just curious.
posted by ooga_booga at 11:27 AM on January 29, 2009


"We were somewhere around the Capitol on the edge of the Potomac when the drugs began to take hold..."

"And that, we think, was the handle, Sasha and Malia—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of freedom and responsibility. Not in any useful or progressive sense; we didn’t need that. Our values would simply prevail. There was no point in dissembling — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a righteous and profitable wave. . . . So now, less than 5 years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Texas and look East, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and washed the streets of New Orleans clean."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:38 AM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


I remember the underage drinking, filthy light thief. I also remember thanking my lucky stars that my parents were nobodies, because I did worse things as a teenager than a little underage drinking. They were dumb to get caught, but that doesn't qualify as a capital offense in my book. Of course, their father has a different take on the death penalty than I do, but they aren't responsible for his sins.
posted by craichead at 11:49 AM on January 29, 2009


Why won't they just go away?
posted by atchafalaya at 11:54 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


If only Dubya had stopped after the note on the desk in the oval office. You should see some of the "notes" he left on the wall in front of the White House shitters, for example. And I'll give you three guesses as to what substance these notes are written in.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:57 AM on January 29, 2009


"Here I sit, broken hearted. It all went to shit the day I started."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:03 PM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Does nicknaming run in their family?

Very much so. It's a great way to assert dominance and still seem friendly, if you're a powertripping asshole, anyway. GWB nicknames everyone, and especially loves giving out slightly insulting ones because he's just that kind of guy. (e.g. "turdblossom" for Karl Rove)
posted by Aquaman at 12:15 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


To be fair, "Turdblossom" was actually Rove's maiden name.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:24 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I don't buy it. Dubya doesn't strike me as the engaged kind of parent. So I don't know his kids would have the empathy or discipline to take this kind of initiative themselves.
I can see him phoning it in, getting 'smiley' or someone to give the kids 'the talk' (a la Remains of the Day)

Obama on the other hand seems like he'd be fully involved, for good or for ill. I mean, if the kids have a sleepover or something I don't see him sending a butler to quiet the kids down.

*Bong! Crash!*
'Tee hee hee!'

*Thump* *thump thump thump thump thump thump thump*
"What in the sam hill is going on here?"
'Tee hee hee!' *snort*
"Put those pots away. I have to meet with the Japanese prime minister early tomorrow! And I have a bipartisan meeting on the economy with the Democratic and Republican congressional leadership. Now you girls go to sleep. Don't make me come down here again!"
"...sorry Dad"
Girls: "...sorry Mr. Obama."
"Ok girls. We'll do some fun stuff tomorrow, but we all have to get up early."
"Can we play with the microphones in the press room daddy?"
"...Yes, before the meeting. But daddy has to tape the weekly radio address tomorrow afternoon."
"Awww"
"But we'll make some pancakes in the morning, ok?"
All: "Ok"
"Mr. Obama, does Malia like Gary?" *tee hee*
"...only someone who liked Gary first would ask that."
All: Ooooh! (Chant) Lisa likes Gar-y, Lisa likes Gar-y

etc.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:36 PM on January 29, 2009 [15 favorites]


I feel like they're really writing this letter to their future selves, that when the alcoholism that they inherited from their dad has pretty much wiped their earlier memories clean, they'll find this in their scrapbooks and think, hey, I used to be pretty cool, once.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:41 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seriously, what's with all the image rehabilitation efforts out there for Dubya and Co.?

*cough*
posted by Sys Rq at 12:44 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also: "By JENNA and BARBARA BUSH"? I'm going to assume that's Jenna Jameson and Barbara Bush the Elder.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:50 PM on January 29, 2009


Smedleyman - at first I was laughing at what you wrote, then I wanted it to be true, and then I was all like, "no way!" because Gary's a dorkwad and I totally passed Lisa a note yesterday about the Spring Dance.

Stupid Gary!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:25 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


craichead, I understand. But being the daughters of the President, you think that 1) they wouldn't need to sneak alcohol, and 2) someone would have told them that it'd make their parents look like they have done a poor job raising the kids. If you're actual royalty , that's kind of expected of you, but the kids of the Presidents that I remember were all pretty nerdy-seeming. Given, Hillary seemed pretty nerdy compared to most kids, so any show of spirit would be a change.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:45 PM on January 29, 2009


For all we know, though, they wrote something more candid for the Obama girls' private consumption.

Two Hello Kitty folders marked "44a" and "44b", I suppose.
posted by rokusan at 2:02 PM on January 29, 2009


What I don't understand is:

1. How did Jenna think using her grandma's ID to buy beer would work?
2. Barbara Bush has an ID?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:02 PM on January 29, 2009


GWB nicknames everyone, and especially loves giving out slightly insulting ones. (e.g. "turdblossom" for Karl Rove)

I always thought that was a sort of wink-wink, nudge-nudge, "using a gay sex nickname but pretending it means something else" sort of thing, actually.

(He's a goer. Say no more.)
posted by rokusan at 2:03 PM on January 29, 2009


Given, Hillary seemed pretty nerdy compared to most kids...

I think you mean Chelsea Clinton.
posted by ericb at 2:04 PM on January 29, 2009


Turdblossom:
Look... are you insinuating something?

POTIS:
Oh, no, no, no... yes.

Turdblossom:
Well?

POTIS:
Well, you're a man of the world, Karl.

Turdblossom:
Yes...

POTIS:
I mean, you've been around a bit, you know, like, you've, uh... You've 'done it'...

Turdblossom:
What do you mean?

POTIS:
Well, I mean like,... you've READ. A book...

Turdblossom:
Yes...

POTIS:
What's it like?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:08 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I'd pay money to read Amy Carter's letter."

"Number one: Get fucking contacts."
posted by klangklangston at 2:08 PM on January 29, 2009


POTIS? President of the....?
posted by mudpuppie at 2:10 PM on January 29, 2009


President of Texas In Situ
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:12 PM on January 29, 2009


I wish Jenna and Barbara no ill. They're not responsible for whatever they were born into or the decisions or actions of those who came before them. Maybe their dad was genuinely good to them, and who among us wouldn't defend our crankiest uncle against what appears, to us, a lynch mob. If the reason this is public is to humanize their dad, it's not like you could blame them, from their perspective.

I wouldn't want the stuff I did while growing up to be hashed over by strangers. And it's not like you look at your friends today and judge them for getting caught drinking when they were underage; more likely it makes for some fun stories at the pub when everybody pulls out their old fake IDs. People give themselves nicknames and will accept others' that are given endearingly. They could very well have grown up to be decent people, or at least no worse than I am. They haven't really done anything as adults, to us or against us, to judge them on.

Move along. These aren't the persecutions we're looking for.
posted by troybob at 3:33 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


My 2c is that the letter's gotta be pretty impersonal. The Bush twins are much older than the Obama girls. What are you going to write to someone who's 7 and will be 15 at the very oldest living in the White House? "Don't get drunk" doesn't really apply and I don't think that the Bush twins really know about any really awesome places to ride your bike on the South Lawn.

And also, leaking it to the press is just so "precious" it makes my teeth hurt.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:00 PM on January 29, 2009


Our seven-year-old imaginations soared as we played in the enormous, beautiful rooms; our dreams, our games, as romantic as her surroundings. At night, the house sang us quiet songs through the chimneys as we fell asleep.

You have got to be shitting me. I don't know whether it is better to believe they wrote this nonsense or that someone else wrote it for them. This truly is hallmark tiny precious moments bilge of the first water.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:57 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


where are you getting the impression that Carter and Clinton don't really get along?

It's come up before, but it was widely noted during the big meeting of all the living ex-Presidents -- see who's standing a bit apart from each other? Clinton is known to have built a genuine friendship with George H.W. Bush and they enjoy doing things like tsunami relief together. By contrast, while Carter and Clinton have joined forces from time to time, but last year Carter endorsed Obama over Hillary Clinton, and the chill may date all the way back to Carter's 1980 landslide loss which also ousted Clinton from his first term as Arkansas Governor. There were also noted policy differences during the latter's presidency partly due to Clinton's infamous triangulation.

There was a possible awkward moment between the two even at the inauguration.

Anyway, this is an impression held by a number of people. My interpretation is that it may just be a more basic conflict of personality types. Carter, at least post-WH, is a man of great personal rectitude and takes his religion seriously, and may see Clinton as an opportunist and even a bit of an apostate.
posted by dhartung at 10:52 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is it just me, or does this pile-on with the Bush twins a tad bit close to Limbaugh and Co's irrational Chelsea hatred for comfort?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:37 AM on January 30, 2009


Sasha and Malia's letter back: "Your dad was a shitstorm and your grandpa killed JFK. Fuck you very much, Sash and Mal"
posted by zoomorphic at 7:51 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Four years goes by so fast, so absorb it all, enjoy it all!

Zing!
posted by zamboni at 8:58 AM on January 30, 2009


Is it just me, or does this pile-on with the Bush twins a tad bit close to Limbaugh and Co's irrational Chelsea hatred for comfort?

Adults are fair game for fair comments. Besides, Chelsea actively campaigned for her mother; she has willingly, deliberately put herself squarely into the political arena.

People were hand-wringing that Monica Lewinsky was just a poor, young thing, too, forgetting that she was 22 years old at the time. By the same token, some on the right attempted to use a relative young age as an excuse for 34-year-old Monica Goodling's involvement in the U.S. attorney dust-up.

The guy who took the cake, though, was Henry Hyde, who brushed off criticism of a sex scandal (at the same time pushing for Clinton's impeachment) as merely "youthful indiscretions." He was 41 at the time of the "indiscretions."

If you can draft an 18-year-old to die for his country, you can pillory 28-year-old twins for being a pair of tools.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:03 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the links and explanation, dhartung.
posted by ooga_booga at 3:03 AM on February 1, 2009


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